EU May Get Budget Deal, Set Ukraine Ties in 2013, Sikorski Says

Poland’s Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski
Radoslaw Tomasz Sikorski, Poland's foreign minister. Photographer: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg

The European Union will probably reach agreement over its seven-year budget early next year and move toward financial stability after this week’s debt agreement with Greece, Poland’s Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said.

“Greece’s latest package seems to be finally one that can lead Greece into the green pastures of sustainability. Another anchor that we need is to pass the multiannual budget,” Sikorski said yesterday at a Bloomberg Government breakfast. “I think we will get it done in January, and then that’ll be another building block of the return to stability.”

National governments finance 70 percent of the EU budget, which totals 994 billion euros ($1.29 trillion) in 2007-2013. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, has proposed a 4 percent boost, to 1.03 trillion euros in 2014-2020.

The richest EU countries including the U.K. and Germany oppose an increase, saying it would be inconsistent with efforts by national governments to narrow their budget deficits.

Association agreements between the EU and Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova may be signed in the last quarter of next year during an Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, according to Sikorski.

“Ideally, we could sign association agreements with Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, and that will be a big success of the Eastern Partnership,” he said.

The EU last year indefinitely postponed signing an agreement that would have established a tariff-free exchange for a range of goods between Ukraine and the world’s largest trading bloc to protest against the jailing of former Premier Yulia Tymoshenko.

The EU has been negotiating the association agreements with Georgia since July 2010 and Moldova since January 2010.

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